Book Review Part 3: Predictable Revenue

At Acquirent we participate in all varieties of ongoing training to include a book club. Recently we read Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross, which describes the processes he implemented to help Salesforce.com add an extra $100 million in revenue in the early years of the company.

We created this blog series to save you time from having to read the book yourself (although it’s a short book, who has time to read these days?) and to list the takeaways and best practices from the book that we’re putting into practice, which we encourage you to do. This second installment in this series is by Sales Manager Nate Blackburn, we’ll post one installment a week on Friday.

The purpose of sales is to close deals. A sales team must be successful at doing just that –closing deals and generating revenue. For a team, true success is measured by consistent success that can be created in a systematic and predictable manner. In our discussion of the Aaron Ross’ and Marylou Tyler’s book, Predictable Revenue, we have learned just that. Our teams have to be able to limit the sales uncertainty and put the predictability back into the sales process.

In part three of our four-part series, we learned about the 7 Fatal Mistakes of CEO’s and Sales VP’s, Sales Machine Fundamentals, and Cultivating Talent.

Although there are 7 Fatal Mistakes in total, let’s highlight the top three.

Three Fatal Mistakes

Taking Responsibility:

The leadership team must take full responsibility for understanding Sales and Lead Generation. Many Sales Leaders don’t understand the difference between Spears (outbound efforts), seeds (word-of-mouth), and nets (marketing programs).

Thinking Account Executives Should Prospect:

Specialize, specialize, specialize. According to Ross and Tyler, the “closer” should be closing (completing the sales cycle of a prospect) a full 80% of the time.

Talent Fumbles (Hiring, Training, and Incenting):

Fumbles don’t lead to Scores. It is all about putting the right people in the right sales roles. If we hire poorly, train insufficiently or don’t incentivize creatively, our people processes will not be repeatable. No predictable revenue score!!

Sales Machine Fundamentals

A sales machine is the engine of revenue creation. But if that engine’s widgets are faulty, the whole apparatus screeches to a halt. A stop or bottle neck in our sales progression can be catastrophic to revenue creation. Here are the basics to help us understand Sales Machine Fundamentals. Let’s get mechanical about it.

Nine Principles of Building a Sales Machine

  • Be patient – This will take time
  • Experiment – Find out what works and what doesn’t
  • Don’t take on one-off projects – If you can’t repeat it it’s not worth doing
  • Get out of Excel – Use your CRM please
  • Sketch out how things work and what your processes are on a flow chart – Simple processes are better
  • Focus on results rather than activity – 100 dials is not as powerful as 10 conversations
  • Track fewer, more important metrics – We should look at a few KPI’s that are leading factors for success
  • Pay attention to batons that cross functions – Is there a hand off to a different department? If so, this could be where the process problems originate
  • Take baby steps – Make small but measurable improvement steps

Cultivating Talent

Once we have a repeatable processes we can create predictable goals and predictable success roadmaps. As Ross and Tyler note, it is very important to build a strong team from within. We have to build a “farm system” within our teams, they state. We can do this by simply creating happy employees, but better yet, it can be accomplished by having an attainable tiered process for advancement. If we segment the roles of our sales functions (such as lead generation, inbound activity and closing) we have a built-in skill-adding system for our team-members.

In closing, let’s avoid the top three fatal mistakes. Let’s understand the fundamentals of creating an efficient sales machine, and of course, let us cultivate our talent.

These steps will get us closer to predictable revenue.

Click here to read Book Review Part 1: Predictable Revenue by Nick Hogren

Click here to read Book Review Part 2: Predictable Revenue by Ryan Morehouse[/fusion_text][/fullwidth]